Koffee with Karan S8: Kajol, Rani Mukerji don't need a Shah Rukh Khan anymore | Bollywood - Hindustan Times

Koffee with Karan Season 8: Kajol and Rani Mukerji don't need a Shah Rukh Khan to bridge the gap on that couch anymore

Nov 30, 2023 03:02 PM IST

Before the Koffee Gets Cold: Kajol and Rani Mukerji started off as family, turned co-stars, became contemporaries, and gradually evolved into friends.

After having Sunny Deol and Bobby Deol grace the Koffee with Karan Season 8 couch 19 years after they first did so in the inaugural season, host Karan Johar went full circle yet again when he invited the leading ladies of his directorial debut Kuch Kuch Hota Hai 25 years after the film's release. Interestingly, Kajol and Rani Mukerji also famously opened the second season of the chat show in 2007. (Also Read: Koffee With Karan: Kajol and Rani Mukerji open up about why they weren't friends earlier despite being cousins)

Rani Mukerji and Kajol were a laugh riot on Koffee with Karan Season 8
Rani Mukerji and Kajol were a laugh riot on Koffee with Karan Season 8

No Shah Rukh Khan needed, thanks

One major difference from that episode and the latest one is that there was a certain Shah Rukh Khan sitting between the Kuch Kuch Hota Hai co-stars, who also happen to be second cousins. That episode was shot nine years after that film. Rani and Kajol had a certain distance between them, which was bridged, literally and metaphorically by Shah Rukh Khan.

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Karan started that episode by first talking to Kajol and Rani, their lack of friendship, the fact that they were vying for the same parts now (Interestingly, both of them played a visually challenged lead part in Fanaa and Black, respectively). While Kajol agreed that she is proud that Rani had grown from strength to strength, and Rani said that the family is proud of what Kajol achieved personally and professionally, and they both agreed that they aren't friends but enemies either, there still was a certain current between the two which got diffused to an extent with the advent of Shah Rukh on the Koffee couch.

There was no tension to diffuse in the first place, but Shah Rukh ensured with his easy charm that there was no awkwardness either. It felt like Kajol and Rani were there as professionals and as friends to Karan, just like they were on the sets of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Which is why when Karan asked Kajol if she wished to play any parts Rani did, she flatly said, “None,” much to Rani's very visible surprise. Rani, being the graceful younger sibling, said she'd like to be a mother like Kajol when asked the same question, as if dismissing her onscreen repertoire. Rani even went to the extent of being the sacrificial fixture she was in both Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, and said she'd stay behind and give the only two parachutes to Shah Rukh and Kajol because people “want to see them together onscreen.”

What has changed

If their latest pictures and video from the Durga Puja celebration is anything to go by, one could see Rani and Kajol share a lot of affection and camaraderie compared to earlier. Karan also admitted on the show that he's seen them grow closer in the last five years. The early signs of that could be seen when they congregated along with Shah Rukh for a talk to commemorate 20 years of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. In her concluding words, Rani thanked “Kajol di” for always helping her, only for Karan to react with, “When has she helped you?” Rani admitted it's polite talk, but Kajol returned the favour by saying, “One thing Rani never asked for and needed was help,” patting her back for making it big in the industry despite her, and not because of her.

Now that the two actors are in a secure space professionally and a mature phase personally, they have no reasons to admit how their equation wasn't as warm as it's today. Both of them are getting rave reviews for their work (The Trial and Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway), and have managed to carve an identity of their own. There was a time when Kajol took a sabbatical after her daughter Nysa was born, and Rani finally got the chance to play the female lead in a Shah Rukh, Karan Johar film with Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna. But now, they aren't vying for the same parts and thus don't need to worry about stepping into each other's territories.

Also, as Kajol and Rani revealed on the episode that they came closer after the deaths of their fathers. That happened even when Rani's father-in-law Yash Chopra died, and Kajol was there at the hospital to console her cousin. Even though things turned quite sour immediately after. Kajol's husband Ajay Devgn sued Yash Raj Films for business malpractice by reserving majority screens for the Diwali release of Jab Tak Hai Jaan, which thwarted the chances of Ajay's film Son of Sardaar, releasing on the same day. Ajay didn't withdraw his case even after Yash Chopra's death, and as a consequence, Kajol was the only Yash Chopra heroine to not be invited to the posthumous premiere of his movie.

But that was over a decade ago. Kajol and Rani have both evolved into women of their own who can share an equation despite their husbands' past issues. If it was family which drew them apart, it's family that's brought them closer. Gone are the days when they needed Shah Rukh Khan to diffuse the tension. Now, they can sit back, roast the host, and make faces at influencers. They're too themselves to be friends that turned family. They are family who became friends.

Before the Koffee gets Cold' is a weekly column that goes beyond the froth to study the storm inside the Koffee cup.

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